Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Romanian Campaign Hits Back At Negative British Ads

Rather than being paved with gold, the British government wants you to think its streets are wet from the incessant rain and the vomit of binge-drinking teens.

Concerned about a possible influx of new arrivals when immigration restrictions for Bulgaria and Romania are lifted at the end of 2013, the British media is reporting that ministers are considering a negative ad campaign that would dissuade wannabe migrants from heading to the island nation.

According to Britain’s “Daily Telegraph,” the proposed campaign would “focus on the downside of life in the U.K., majoring on the changeable weather.”

Against a backdrop of widespread frustration with crumbling infrastructure, rising prices, and the interminable drizzle, the popular left-leaning daily “The Guardian” asked its readers to make their own posters to deter prospective visitors.

The results are impressive: British self-deprecation coupled with a strong distaste for the present coalition government and petty bureaucracy. “Come Here And Clean The Loo,” says one submission. Another reads: “Britain: we only haven’t left ourselves because the public transport isn’t running.” Several others make fun of the country's notoriously gray weather.

Many Romanians and Bulgarians, however, don’t see the funny side of the proposed campaign.

One Romanian online newspaper,, has hit back, launching its own campaign to bring Brits to Romania.

Mihai Gongu, a creative director at the Romanian advertising agency GMP, is the mastermind behind the Gandul campaign. Called “Why Don’t You Come Over?” the campaign features slogans such as “We speak better English than anywhere you’ve been in France” and “Charles bought a house here in 2005. And Harry has never been photographed naked once.” Each advertisement has the slogan: “We may not like Britain, but you will love Romania.”

Gongu says "it is a bit disconcerting to see yet another piece of news that builds on the idea that Romanians are the No. 1 problem on the agenda."

"We felt we owe it to the tens of thousands of decent tax-paying Romanians who live in the U.K. and the millions at home to do something about it," he says. 

And what can Romania offer British tourists? 

"You have the seaside with both posh resorts and a few secluded beaches, a countryside frozen in time, the Carpathians, a capital which mixes art deco with North Korean-style flats and a pretty active night life," Gongu says.

Many Bulgarians also registered their displeasure on Twitter, grouping around the hashtag #avoidBritain:

Aryo tweeted in Bulgarian: "Do you really want them to think you are giving them the finger when you order two beers?" -- a reference to the two-fingered V-sign, which is a signal of disrespect in Britain.

One Bulgarian blogger, Boyan Yurukov, wrote that:

Great Britain is indeed a grim, dangerous place with glaring economic difficulties. Therefore the only responsible thing we Bulgarians can do as Europeans is to extend a helping hand and invite all Brits who’ve had enough.

British retirees would find Bulgarian villages splendid – it’s cheaper, cleaner, less stressful, the food is tastier, the weather is great and they can get their retirement check anywhere.
With an economy teetering on the edge of recession, unemployment at nearly 8 percent, and stagnating wages, immigration is a hot-button issue in the United Kingdom.

While there are popular concerns about migrants “taking British jobs” or putting undue pressure on the country’s infrastructure, others say that Britain needs more skilled migrant labor to address the deficits of its workforce. Supporters of continued migration also say that workers from abroad are prepared to do the types of unskilled jobs that many Brits shirk.

The Conservative-led government has just relaunched a book, “Life in the United Kingdom: A Guide for New Residents.” The book is the main study text for a newly revised immigration test and includes practical day-to-day advice for migrants and vignettes from British history, which critics say gloss over the nastier aspects of Britain’s colonial past.

According to statistics from the University of Oxford, between 1993 and 2011 “the foreign-born population in the U.K. almost doubled from 3.8 million to around 7 million.” Britain has a population of over 62 million people.

Migration Watch, an independent U.K.-based think tank, has said that up to 250,000 Bulgarians and Romanians could head to Britain for work in 2014, although that figure is disputed. When in power, the Labour party placed restrictions on migration from Romania and Bulgaria when the two countries joined the EU in 2007.

One British member of parliament, Keith Vaz, has criticized the proposed ad campaign as “farcical.” "I have asked the home secretary several times to give us an estimate as to how many Romanians and Bulgarians will enter the country in 2014 but she has not done so,” Vaz said. “Successive governments have failed to provide accurate estimates."

Another plan reportedly being considered would mean that new migrants from Romania and Bulgaria would have to show they can support themselves financially for six months in order to stay.

It is not the first time that EU member states have fought a proxy war via advertising. In France and Great Britain, le plombier polonais, or Polish plumber, has come to represent, to some, the threat of cheap labor from Central and Eastern Europe. (To others, a Polish plumber represents the opportunity to get the job done well at half the cost of what they would pay a native French or British worker.)

In response to what it saw as negative stereotypes, in 2005 the Polish tourist board launched a campaign featuring an attractive nurse and a buff plumber calling on French citizens to come to Poland.

-- Luke Allnutt
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Boyan Yurukov from: Bulgaria
January 30, 2013 14:45
Thanks for the mention. We also started the "Move to Bulgaria" campaign. We even made a "Keep calm and move to Bulgaria" posters. There are already several thousand Brits in Bulgaria. After the strong response in Twitter and several RTs from UK journalists, many more have expressed interest.

by: Dk Dimitrova from: Manchester
January 30, 2013 15:36
Boyan's blog inspired me to make my own poster ;)

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 30, 2013 17:36
It's amusing to see how the Europeans are competing to prove to each other which one of the EU member states is more bankrupt and where the economic crisis is affecting the population more severely. And in the meantime, most emerging economies - be it Brasil, Russia, India or China - continue experiencing good rates of economic growth. I mean, like really: come and join the EU so that you could then go bankrupt and squabble with other EU member states :-)).

by: PIA from: Warrington
January 30, 2013 18:02
It is unbelievable how some people express their thoughts about thinks that they really do not know.
I am Romanian, studying in the UK - and I must say that they really do not realize how much money we actually bring in their country - the tuition fees for Undergraduate courses and Postgraduate courses are really high - aprox. 8000 pounds / year and I know for a fact that there are a lot of Romanians and Bulgarians that come here to study, without having the right to work. Where do you think the money come from?
I would really feel embarrassed if I were British, knowing that native English speakers students check their spelling after Romanian classmates - this happens all the time...
Another thing that I think should be underlined is that nor Bulgaria or Romania are actually 3rd world countries with people starving on the streets.
In Bucharest there are shops like Louis Vuitton, Armani, Gucci, Burberry; Maserati, Lamborghini and Ferraris on the streets and none of this brands are bankrupt...

In Response

by: Radu from: London
January 30, 2013 19:22
@PIA: The fact that Bucharest has high-street shops doesn't prove anything. Bombay has posh places, but that doesn't make India a rich country, it just means that there are plenty of millionaires over there. Romania has a high financial inequality. Regarding the spelling of the native speakers, I agree with you but you should also check your spelling before you make this kind of observations.
In Response

by: smartacus from: San Francisco, California
January 31, 2013 00:16
Ahhh, the unmistakable air of homeland seeping thru the foundation cream of western high life (education?).
Keep up the good work of reinforcing the stereotypes, boys and girls. Make us proud once again.
In Response

by: Dan from: London
January 31, 2013 00:36
Both of you should check your spelling and grammar- native English speaker.
In Response

by: Tiberiu from: USA
January 31, 2013 00:54
Right on, Radu!
In Response

by: Mike from: Malvern
January 31, 2013 09:08
I think it's fair to say that both Radu and Pia express themselves in English far more fluently than most English people. I would challenge anyone to go through the BBC comment pages and find two consecutive posts that aren't riddled with spelling mistakes, feral apostrophes and abysmal grammar.

In Response

by: Rada from: Baia Mare, Romania
February 02, 2013 08:32
Here we go again: Romanians showing off their presumed skills. You should check most Romanians' spelling in their native language. A disaster. It's a relief when there's no mistake in one sentence. And the Louis Vuitton, Gucci & stuff are just another proof of extreme snobbism in this country where modesty seems to be a sin.
In Response

by: Keith from: Sussex
January 30, 2013 21:45
"I would really feel embarrassed if I were British, knowing that native English speakers students check their spelling after Romanian classmates"

"Another thing that I think should be underlined is that nor Bulgaria or Romania . . ."

Hopefully they wouldn't come to you for advice on grammar.
In Response

by: Sergei Gotchev from: Vienna
January 31, 2013 07:46
A landmark in human comprehension. Learn English with Ricky Gervais under:
In Response

by: Ben from: West Sussex
January 31, 2013 08:55
Yes but he's writing in his non native language. I wonder how your Romanian grammar is or even would be if you lived there?!
In Response

by: mona from: krakow
January 31, 2013 08:57
Wow, love it when the 'grammar nazis' come in and redirect the topic of any article. Freedom of speech indeed, however taken a bit too far...
Regarding these posters, I believe in fairness, etiquette and loyal competition. Throwing mud to each other will not do anything constructive to nether side of the fence.
There are good things about the UK, good things about Romania and Bulgaria, and bad ones too, let’s just leave it at that.

And if I may pun in my 2 cents – this is one Earth where there should be no borders. Nationalism, pretend-defence and distracting the focus of the population to fight on stupid ideas is at the least stupid...

PS: I am surprised nobody blamed the gipsies as usual on ruining reputations of countries... 
In Response

by: bego from: Spain
January 31, 2013 19:58
Yes, Keith from Sussex, British people DO have a lot of problems with spelling. And many other issues related to English. I am a Spanish citizen who worked there for a couple of years as a Spanish Teaching Assistant and I spent half of my time correcting spelling nonsense at the university graduate level.
I agree Romanians should stay home in their country. At least they will get lots of human warmth and support if they do. Lots of cold shoulders if they don't.
In Response

by: georgiana from: romania
January 31, 2013 21:34
this debate is way too Romanian! the thrugh quality of a ro is being "fudul" (kind of proud and show of at the same time). don't mind my spelling; it was never meant to be academically accurate. tones of love from the east! ;)
In Response

by: notpia from: US
January 31, 2013 11:58
8000 pounds does not cover what the UK government spends on every student nor is an invitation for bashing so generous of a host country. Pia you are an embarrassment of ingratitude and self entitlement very reflective of your home country.
In Response

by: Zoe from: Mars
January 31, 2013 14:50
Actually, apart from tuition (which is a loan, not an act of benevolence) they don't receive any kind of grants/money package support. They usually work to pay the living expenses, books and secretarial fees without any kind of charity, so please stop spreading bigotry. Plus, with the extended markets of Romania and Bulgaria, the UK gains a hell lot more than what these students "cost" them. Now what did you say about ingratitude?
In Response

by: Mihai from: Bucharest, Romania
February 03, 2013 21:41
PIA, I am not sure what it is that you are studying in Britain - macroeconomics or literature, as none of them seem to be quite your thing. But one thing I know for sure: if you pay 8.000 pounds a year to notice some negative aspects with your English colleagues, you'd better come back home honey and do that for free. Every society has their own goods and bads; pointing only to the bads will do neither justice to that society nor consideration to the people who mention it. I am sure that England has far more decent people who will not necessarily buy whatever it is that their own politicians are selling (inflaming the national spirit by inventing a common ''enamy'', which is a chip card to play on the side of those politicians). And by the way, as English do not have a way to know how many Romanians and Bulgarians will ever go to seek jobs in England, neither do you.

by: Stuart Jones from: London
January 31, 2013 07:33
We do not want any more immigrants in the UK

Sign this petition to restrict Bulgarian and Romanians from entering the UK:
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 31, 2013 09:27
Ah, this wonderful prosperous Europe where all the nations live in peace and love with each other! Come and join the EU so that you could also go bankrupt, sign petitions and squabble with your neighbours!!! :-)))))))))).
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 31, 2013 10:34
sign the petition to forbid english products in romania and Bulgaria!!
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
January 31, 2013 15:06
What "English products", Anonymous? From what I know, they produce a lot of "financial products" in the UK, which essentially are pieces of paper not worth the paper they are printed on, but other than that... I mean, really: go to a store in Sofia, Bucharest or here in Vienna and try to find at least ONE British product. Very frankly, I cannot recall having seen here in Vienna ANYTHING produced in the UK in a long time. And please do correct me if I am wrong :-)).
In Response

by: mihai from: Bucharest, Romania
February 03, 2013 22:01
Usually, the brain and the heart perform different jobs. True, at times, these jobs overlap. I can see your heart from what you've just written. Unfortunately, I see nothing else to overlap it with.
In Response

by: Zet from: Falkland
February 01, 2013 09:16
Keep calm! Romanians and Bulgarians will not come to conquer Britain, as Brits did (without asking for the natives’ permission) in Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, India, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and… name them all… Sad bigotry for the 21 century!

by: mario7979 from: United States of America
January 31, 2013 09:01
As they say in Britain bring your arss to the United States

by: J. from: Seville
January 31, 2013 11:08
The whole thing is quite simple: whoever is behind that British campaign -be it its government or whoever- has proven his bad taste and, I would say, incompetence. It's only natural that Romanian and Bulgarian people feel offended. I like the "hit back" campaign by the way. Anyway, let's not just throw bricks at each other. Something tells me this is exactly what the campaign was looking for.
In Response

by: K from: Sweden
January 31, 2013 20:24
You are right !

by: volodymyr from: ukraine
February 01, 2013 13:50
Usually my comments do ot appear here, but i'll try onem more time!

Mr allnut! (by the way, your surname is already a characteristics of Guardian's and British' activity!)

At the prostitute's chait at the british consulate i'd say them just the following: from Ukrainian 'prostitutka" is translated in English as "working girl". And You know that working girl is nothing else than businee woman. So I am not a work power. I am the investor. And I apply other laws and regulations!

And the problem is thta Ukraine and other central europaen countries appoint real dumms and suckers to main positions.

My reciprocal reply to Great Britain be the following. "We open us and our vorder to everybody who does not deal with your power. we let in all students and if they passs exams, they study free and get scolarchips satysfying minimum life level. We allow them to write homeworks in english for first 2 years of their stay in Ukraine.
But if you do not provide the same prices for education that Nritish pay and the same possibilities for credits with guarantees ofrom the Ukrainian bank, we cancel your diplomatic passports, and one-time entry visa for British dealing with power to be cost them 15600 pounds - just a year price of education in UK.

Chelsea visits donetsk for free, but the Ntional british team pays 15600 for entry to Ukraine for every Rooney!

Mr. Tsyupyn from BBC also pays to enter Ukraine 15600 pounds cos he works for company submitted to QUeen, but ordinary journalist from guardian visits us free. so for Tsyupyn it will be good to think if to change BBC on Guardian or daily mirror (or to change citizenship).

Ordinary prostitute comes to Ukraine for free but prostitute Bell de jour who in papallel a scientitsi paays 15600 pounds for entry.

And I would not afraid for reciprocal actions from your side, cos any visa price increase will lead that british citizens will get visa not in London, but in the border village Krakovets, in quee outside under sky and clouds, paying cash and providing all documnets, especially all documents to confirms that last 7 years you did not deal with British power. I would show you reciprocal democracy! I'll notify police to watch prices for hot-dogs (always to be not less than 5 pounds) and local beer to be sold at least by Guiness price at the Spermint rhino. And to watch that Cameron to stay in quee from very beginning to the very end without any VIPindulgences.

The best way to fight for democracy is to arrange identical rules for everyone!
In Response

by: volodymyr from: Donetsk
February 01, 2013 22:43
I need to say that my upper comment was written BEFORE reading Guardian. at is was given like bad british write to poor romanians, and I skipped that it was Guardian's RECIPROCAL campaign to arrange a something like a parody to British powers' actions.
Saying honestly I think that Romanians must work in romanians as well as Ukrainians in Ukraine, but I think that the students who just start to live must have EQUAL possibilities to get education, and i think that in all directions British universities are leading in the world.

by: amano masamune from: Milton keynes
February 01, 2013 14:11
what pissing me off in this campaign is both sides involving the French and no one did have the guts to involve the Germans, the Italian or the Spanish. No wondering why we French hate the British so much and will never make an effort to speak English when actually they can speak English.

By the way the Romanian and Bulgers we may suck at speaking English (any that language is too easy to learn) but we can speak another language which is not English. So ask yourself which is the country which does not speak another language and expect the world to speak their language.

If you think that the frenchs then think again. A bon entendeur.
In Response

by: mihai from: Bucharest, Romania
February 03, 2013 22:47
Hi Amano. I believe that France is not a part of this England-Romania+Bulgaria ''war'', but rather a collateral damage. I think that it has to do with the ''love-hate'' relationship that you guys have with England. Most English go to France, they enjoy the food, the wheather, the scenery etc and when going back to England, SOME of them(a minoriy) complain about an alleged poor English communication level in public services. So, don't take it personally, it is part of the game. As for speaking English, you speak English and I would like to believe that it was your own desire to make this effort. Anyway, I love France and I hope one day my French will be much better than it is now, as I enrolled my 4-year daughter with The French School in Bucharest. Cheers !

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